Race Recap: Run to Feed the Hungry 2013

3:30 PM

Why does everyone else in America call it the Turkey Trot?!?

Sounds ridiculous to me, but maybe that's because I've been conditioned to calling our traditional Thanksgiving Day run "Run to Feed the Hungry". Happy 20th Anniversary #RTFTH! I wish I knew how many exact races I've participated in, I think it's anywhere from 10-15 over the last 20 years. I remember walking them as kids with the Lil's entire soccer team and their families. To more recently, doing it every year with my immediate family. However, this year I rolled out SOLO! It was weird, to say the least.

So apparently this race is the largest in the US. So I've heard, were about 28,000 participants this year. Not to shabby Sacramento, not too shabby. All raising money for the Sacramento Food Bank. This race has tons of options, 5K, 10k, timed, untimed, and a kids run too.

Since this race is large, they offer packet pickup for almost a whole week in advance at our local REI store. They have it down to a fairly well oiled machine - pick up bib inside (or register if you haven't already), then head outside and grab your shirt. Nothing too fancy, except this year the room for bib pick up stunk so bad. Literally smelled like a hybrid of trash and throw-up. I'm such a wimp when it comes to smells, so I instantly covered my nose and mentioned they should invest in some Febreeze. I don't think the lady who was helping the others find my "lost" bib, appreciated that comment.
2013 Run to Feed the Hungry
The shirt for this run has been pretty ugly in the past. However, this year's fabric was amazing. It is super soft and I was excited to wear it to lounge around in. Sometimes I wonder, who the hell designs these things? It's definitely not someone who runs a lot or who cares about how they dress, they are always ugly and uncomfortable. But this year, they did better, kudos!

It should be noted, that although this is a race, per se, I don't ever run it like one. Yes, I tend to run it faster than I want, but largely it doesn't feel like a true race because I do not start at the starting line. Due to limited parking and the race start (at Sacramento State University) my family and I normally bypass that madness and hop into the race about 0.25miles after the start. It's a convenient location to hop in at and parking near these streets are much less congested.

The key is to wait for the super fast runners to go by, then leisurely sneak into the race. I've learned that I should generally sign up for the "untimed" options, since I'm not going over the original start race. I'm sure some of you might scoff at this notion, but oh well. This is the only race I do this at. I'm just happy that my parents are out there doing it with us, with the exception of this year.

The funny thing about this race is that it's always a little more than a week before CIM and it incorporates part of that race course. So if you run it on Thanksgiving, you will love the little preview you get for the bigger fish you will fry.

The 10K starts 25 minutes before the 5k, so generally no one misses the turn off for the shorter distance (with the exception of my Mom two years ago)! 8:35AM, perfect start time for a race! We lucked out this year with gorgeous weather, it was cold and crisp, but it was dry - that's all that really matters.
If you know Sacramento at all, then you know that this is more than just a run. The neighborhoods you run through tend to be well inhabited and by some of the more than wealthy families, at that. It is not uncommon to see free mimosa's, blaring radios, cheering, parties of spectators, or water being offered by neighbors. This year I took one of the mini Costco water bottles, but I skipped the Mimosa's. I don't think I've ever snagged one, but I need to make a point to do so next year.

This run went much faster than I anticipated. In lieu of my Friday 4 mile easy training that was on my schedule, I used the 10k to get in the miles. However, I should have known better. I don't do well with people passing me in races or in just everyday running. So, after we hit the half mile mark and I looked down at my watch and I was running a sub 8 minute mile, I knew this wasn't good. I tried to slow down, but I hated that I was getting passed. For the next couple of miles I ran at 8:30 min, but then the last two I tried to slow down and run at 9 minutes, but I was still running near 8:45.

You can definitely tell that there are 28,000 people there with you. You are surrounded by people during the entire run. Not in a horrible, claustrophobic way, but in a fun, popular race kind of way. The course tends to have a decent amount of turns, because of the grid style that downtown was constructed by. Then once you get by McKinley park you get to run straight for awhile, then after you get to Elvas Boulevard, you enter into another neighborhood, which is where the turns start again. Nothing bad, but you are defiantly moving and shakin'!

You meet with the 5K people with about 0.2 miles left of the race, side by side.You each have your own side of the street, but it can get really congested. Don't even ask about the finish line. People literally just stop once they hit the timing mat. It's gets clogged up, which I know they've tried to remedy, but it still happens every year. Since I started later, I wanted to make sure I got my full 10k, in but apparently I had a brain fart the morning of the race. As I'm typing this, I realized I thought a 10k equaled 6.1 miles, NOPE it's definitely 6.2 miles...which I did not do, I did 6.12 miles total. Ah well, at least my training only required 4 miles, so anything after that is extra credit!

Some years the free giveaways are better than others. This year was one of the not so great years. Last year Clif gave away shot bloks, this made my day and they weren't stingy with them, so I had an amply supply for awhile! This year was water, one piece of fruit, and a Clif Granola bar.

Since I was solo I looked to see if I saw any familiar faces and stretched. I didn't so I grabbed my goods and made my way back to my car. It was sad to do this family tradition by myself, but I'm still glad I stuck to my training and also made some extra room for all the Turkey day goodness I was going to devour later that day.

Thanksgiving in Sacramento was changed 20 years ago...for the better!

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